Are You Selling Yourself Short? How to Avoid Leaving Money on the Table


Tell me if this has happened to you.

You just sign a contract with a new client to handle a small project for them even though it’s not exactly the budget or scope of work you would like to do the job right, but you agree to it because you think it’s what they can afford only to find out later that they outsourced additional related work to another company because they didn’t know your company could handle full service projects.

The sales term you are looking for is leaving money on the table. In this case, you left it for someone else to grab, cheating yourself out of additional profits and probably a much more satisfying project. All because you sold yourself short.

It happens.

In the rush to close the deal, you skipped a few essential steps in the sales process, leaving extra dollars on the table for a competitor. It’s just a matter of time before that same competitor offers your new client an attractive package deal to take over the entire end-to-end project, promising both efficiency and cost savings because “Doesn’t it just make sense for a single supplier to handle everything?”.

Of course it doesn’t which is exactly what you should have pitched them in the first place!

How to Avoid Leaving Money on the Table

Slow Down the Sales Cycle — Take the time to properly scope the project and find out the entire budget available for the broader category of work. It may take a bit of asking as often prospects don’t want to disclose this information for fear that you will overcharge, but be persistent, letting them know that you offer more than just the small chunk you are currently discussing.

Sell Them on the Ideal Scenario — Instead of pitching them on a small chunk of the work, give them an idea of what a full service arrangement would look like. It doesn’t always mean that every new client will go for the package deal, but it is another way to get down to the bottom line on budget and find out if there is budget allocated for different aspects of the project that you could potentially tap into.

Be Prepared to Play With Numbers — Once you have your prospect excited about the big picture vision for the project, ask if they would be okay with you looking at their total budget in order to find potential cost savings to allow them to proceed with the dream project. Show them where they could make strategic cuts to increase spend on the dream project.

Give Them Multiple Choices — Be prepared to break the full service project into more manageable stages from a budget perspective. A good tactic for freeing up additional budget is to tie the project to revenue results, outlining how the additional budget will come from the cost savings or profits derived from the project. This lets them know that you are willing to earn the subsequent phases by getting them concrete results instead of just costing them more money.

Don’t Be Afraid to Say No — Never EVER drop your price! If doing it right requires a certain budget, don’t try to squeeze the same scope of work into a smaller budget. Explain why it won’t work and break down exactly how and why the numbers need to be above that threshold in terms they understand: bottom-line results.


About Author

Carla Young, Publisher If there’s living proof that women can have it all – and then some – it’s Carla Young. Building her multiple businesses on a virtual work-at-home model, Carla is an inspiration to other mothers who want to start a lifestyle business. During her early days as a mom entrepreneur, Carla made every single mistake in the book (and a few new ones for good measure). Realizing that “doing it all” was unhealthy and unsustainable, Carla started by getting organized to the extreme, developing support systems for both her work and family. After other mothers started asking how they too could enjoy her lifestyle, Carla launched to support moms at work, at home and at play (because every mommy deserves a little me-time)!

1 Comment

  1. Very good advice indeed. That has also been my take on the matter, and I just rejected a project yesterday exactly because of such an aspect in the offer made.
    Glad to see I am not the only one thinking this is the right way to go. If I can’t give 100% on the complete solution, I would rather let others bid on the project, and let them find out I was right in my comments about the rejection. They can then come back when they see I was right all along. 🙂

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